What Happens When a Football Player Is Arrested?
Criminal Attorney Timothy Jansen Explains the Process to the Media
Read the original article in full on Campus Rush.
Sports fans and non-sports fans alike have asked the question “What
happens between the time a football player is arrested and the time their
case is resolved?” There is often a mysterious lull between the
hyped-up news coverage about the player’s arrest and the time their
case concludes and life returns to normal. Many people what to know what
process occurs during that lull.
Attorney Timothy Jansen was recently featured in an enlightening article on
Campus Rush titled “What Happens When a Player Gets Arrested? A Look into How
the Legal Process Plays Out.” In the article, the author uses information
gathered from Jansen to paint a word-picture of the criminal process that
occurs between a football player’s arrest and the conclusion of
their case, using Jansen as the imaginary
criminal defense attorney. Considering
Jansen is a contract advisor for the NFL Players Association, the scenario could almost be real.
The article explains a
hypothetical football player’s criminal process as follows.
In the hypothetical situation created by the author, a fourth-year junior
at “Tech U” is arrested for possessing a stolen laptop, which
he claims to have bought from a man selling them out of his trunk. Defense
attorney Jansen (again, hypothetically) receives a call from the player’s
coach telling him that the player’s mother will be calling soon.
Jansen starts driving to the police station.
On the way, Jansen takes the call from the player’s hysterical mother
and explains his retainer and attorney fees. He takes the retainer payment
via credit card over the phone and is now ready to defend his client.
Walking into the police station, Jansen meets his client and counsels him
to stop talking to police. Jansen then requests a private conference with
the client and asks two questions:
- What were you charged with?
- What have you told them?
After speaking privately with his client, Jansen then questions the police,
asking two questions:
- What do you have?
- What has he told you?
At this point, Attorney Jansen considers any alleged evidence mentioned
by the police and weighs his client’s defense options. He then updates
the player’s mother on the situation.
The Next Day or Two
During the off-season, Jansen would have time to build a defense or work
on a plea bargain. In this particular scenario, however, the season opener
is days away. Jansen’s client is charged with a felony and the player
has been suspended from all Tech U games and practices and from the school’s
weight room while the charges exist.
The defendant makes bail the following day and Jansen interviews him thoroughly.
He discovers that his client lied about the man selling laptops out of
his trunk. Jansen also knows that police have surveillance video of the
defendant leaving the apartment from which the laptop was stolen with
what appeared to be a laptop in his possession.
Jansen never asks “Did you do it?” because, if the client openly
admits to the crime and then goes before a jury and denies it, then Jansen
would be supporting perjury.
While all this is happening, Jansen is fielding calls from reporters and
beat writers. His advice is “The only bad response is no response.”
He tells reporters that the defendant has retained his services and all
communication must therefore go through him” in an attempt to keep
reporters from trying to speak to the defendant.
The Next Week or Few Weeks
Now, Jansen must deal with the prosecutor’s office and the court,
either moving toward trial or working to negotiate a deal. Jansen explains
that most cases do not go to trial, but rather end with a deal that the
defendant can live with.
Jansen investigates the prosecutors and judges thoroughly, looking up their
schedules and studying how they treat defendants, in order to determine
how best to resolve the case as quickly as possible. He works with the
prosecution until they agree on a plea deal, or the prosecution drops
the charges altogether.
This process can take less than a week or several weeks depending on what
is involved. Does the client have an existing criminal record? Is he a
good student? Has he support charities? Any information that can prove
the case was an isolated incident will be gathered and presented to the
prosecution. A plea bargain will then be negotiated. Jansen will often
ask that the punishment be served at a time that still allows the football
player to be play as much of the season as possible. He will also present
a plea minimizing the charges to something that doesn’t look bad
for someone trying to make it to the NFL.
Once the prosecution agrees to a deal, the defendant must appear before
a judge to enter his plea. He will miss a game for each week it takes
to get to court. In court, the prosecution will read a narrative of the
case. The judge will then ask the defendant if he understands the conditions
of his sentence. Once the football player responds “Yes,”
he is free to go.
The football player will usually be suspended by his coach for a number
of weeks—usually until the first big game against a major school.
After the player has a successful season, hey may even decide to hire
Jansen as his agent to help him prove to the NCAA that his criminal charge—which
affects his draft status—was a one-time thing. Jansen encourages
his client to respond to all inquiries with an honest response that accepts
responsibility, but is still professional. Jansen also helps his client
on the public relations side of things, assisting him in boosting his
image. After that, it’s up to the football player to prove himself
and live down his old criminal charge.
Read the original article on Campus Rush.
Timothy Jansen is a founding attorney at
Jansen & Davis, P.A. in Tallahassee, FL. He is a seasoned criminal attorney who is recognized
by peers and clients alike for his ethics, demeanor, and skill.
Call today at (877) 378-6136 for a
free consultation if you need a Tallahassee criminal lawyer.